Robert Mason Returns to Retail with New Short North Location
The wait is over. Robert Mason is officially returning to the local realm of brick-and-mortar retail.
Ever since a devastating fire wrecked three businesses on Gay Street in April 2014, Robert Mason has been without a home to sell its curated mix of stationery, furnishings and related lifestyle accessories. But owner and founder Robert Grimmett announced today that he has just signed a lease for a new store at 17 Brickel Street in The Short North.
Grimmett said that the search for a new space has taken 18 months because of the many layers of complexity that go with not only finding the right space at the right time and securing financing, but also due to the aftermath of an event like a fire.
“We were only 13 months into business when that happened, and I don’t know if a lot of businesses can snap back from something like that,” he explained. “For us, it was 100% starting over. We’re still fighting with the insurance company, but we’ve also had a lot of highlights even without a storefront.”
Some of those highlights include a relaunched e-commerce store, exclusive custom partnerships with the Columbus Zoo and BBC First, as well as a new deal with Express that features Robert Mason products and accessories for sale through Express.com. That project just went live on Monday of this week.
“I love when people run into me and ask what I’ve been doing with my spare time lately,” said Grimmett. “I’ve actually been busier than ever.”
Now, he’ll be adding the build-out of a new retail store to his to do list over the next several months. The new space in the Short North will include approximately 1800 square feet of storefront with 900 square feet of office and warehouse space in the back where online orders are already being fulfilled. Grimmet said that while he misses the vibe on Gay Street, he’s looking forward to settling into the new neighborhood.
“It’s the right proximity to Short North shoppers, convention-goers and hotel guests in the area,” he stated. “We’re also adjacent to emerging brands like Brassica and Kit and Ace, with high traffic at Tasi, The Joseph, The Guild House and The Pearl.”
Fans of the original 200 square-foot Robert Mason pop-up shop that was housed inside Sugardaddy’s on Gay Street should not worry that the new store will be lacking in the quaint charm of the old shop. Even though he has ten times the amount of space to work with, the polished decor of the original store will carry over through the interior design created by Compton Construction.
“We’ll have the same type of product curation, but where we had a little of each category represented, we’ll be able to expand,” said Grimmett. “That includes a new paper vault, a creativity and writing area, a selection of lifestyle gear, as well as two standard pen bars and a fine pen bar.”
While Grimmett is hesitant to name a target opening date, he said he is realistically aiming for Late 2015 or Early 2016 with a goal of being ready in time for the holiday shopping season.
“I don’t want to open in a hurry and do it wrong,” he explained. “My OCD would kick in and prevent that.”
To keep up with store updates and to shop online, visit www.robertmasoncompany.com.